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Exploring the 5 Most Ancient Dog Breeds

08 Mar, 2023

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Throughout history, dog breeds have come and gone. Of course, certain breeds had their moments of popularity, whether that was because they made great working dogs, hunting dogs, or because they were the desired companion dog of the period. However, some dog breeds are more ancient than others, with their origins dating back centuries or even millennia. This article will explore the 5 most ancient dog breeds and their fascinating histories. From the time these dogs are estimated to have originated to their roles in ancient civilizations, these breeds have stood the test of time and continue to be beloved companions to this day.


The History of Dog Domestication

The history of dog domestication is a subject of much debate among scientists and historians. However, most experts agree that dogs were first domesticated from wolves over 15,000 years ago, most likely in the Middle East or Asia. At this time, humans were transitioning from a nomadic lifestyle to settled agriculture, and dogs were an important asset for hunting and guarding livestock. Over time, humans began breeding dogs for specific purposes, such as hunting, herding, and companionship, leading to the development of hundreds of distinct dog breeds.

Despite the many changes that have occurred in dog breeding over the centuries, the basic relationship between humans and dogs has remained remarkably consistent. Dogs are still valued for their loyalty, intelligence, and ability to form deep emotional connections with their human companions. And while many modern dog breeds have been developed for specific purposes, there are still some ancient breeds that have remained relatively unchanged over the centuries.



The Most Ancient Dog Breeds in the World

While there are many ancient dog breeds in existence today, some of the oldest and rarest breeds are those that have been around for thousands of years. These breeds offer a fascinating glimpse into the past and provide a valuable link to the early history of dog domestication.



#5 - Chow Chow


Chow chow Dog


The Chow Chow is a fascinating breed with an extensive history. They are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today. This ancient breed originated in Mongolia and Northern China. Dogs resembling the Chow Chow have appeared in paintings and pottery dating all the way back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). Interestingly, the name of this breed did not derive from their origins but rather from British merchants in the 18th century. All the miscellaneous items on their ship were called "chow chow." On one voyage, the name stuck when these dogs were included in the trip back home.

#4 - Basenji


Basenji Dog


This is not your typical dog. Many researchers believe that the Basenji is only partially domesticated, as their metabolism and behavior very closely resemble that of a wolf. The Basenji is one of the oldest breeds and originated in Congo. They were primarily used for flushing small game into hunter's nets and controlling the rodent population in the village. They are sighthounds, so perceiving movement is their specialty.

#3 - Chinese Shar-Pei


Chinese shar-pei Dog


The history of the Chinese Shar-Pei can be traced back to the Han Dynasty in China, where they were used as guard dogs, hunters, and fighters. Their wrinkled skin and strong jaws were believed to protect them during fights and make it harder for opponents to grab onto their skin. During the mid-20th century, the breed nearly went extinct due to political turmoil in China. Only through the efforts of a small group of enthusiasts who managed to smuggle a few Shar-Peis out of China and into the United States was the breed saved from complete extinction.

#2 - Afghan Hound


Afghan Hound dog


The Afghan Hound is a pretty remarkable breed. DNA Researchers have discovered that they are one of the oldest breeds, dating back thousands of years. This doggo originated in Afghanistan, where they were used for hunting large prey and defending their humans from ferocious animals. These dogs are very athletic and can run up to 40MPH, which is as fast as a racehorse! That being said, owning an Afghan Hound requires taking them out for daily exercise where they can get rid of all their built-up energy.

#1 - Saluki


Saluki Dog


The Saluki is a unique dog and is considered one of the oldest dog breeds. These pups were once referred to as the 'Persian Greyhound' as they closely resemble the Greyhound in both appearance and character traits. The Saluki can be physically identified by their narrow heads and thin, muscular bodies. This dog breed has lived among ancient civilizations for thousands of years. These dogs originated in the middle east, and images resembling the Saluki were found on carvings from the Sumerian empire dating back about 8000 years ago! Dogs were generally not considered clean animals in the middle east and were not treated fondly. However, Salukis were the exception. They were highly regarded and were the only dogs allowed to sleep in tents in these ancient times. The initial purpose of this speedy dog was to assist their people with hunting animals, which they excelled at. Their combination of speed and strength made them fierce predators.



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